Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The ESV Study Bible Personal Size

Igantius Press.......go and do likewise!


Amfortas said...

Yes, at least with the ESV Personal Study Bible we are spared some of the more dodgy theological articles found in the full sized version.

Deep South Reader said...

I am impressed with the ESV study. You are right, Ignatius needs to un-apologetically mimic the ESV. Use the thin paper. I like the think paper, but it is not practical for trying to do a single volume and you gotta have a single volume Bible, or else you might as well do a Navarre 9+ volume.

Timothy said...

The overall look of the ESV is superior to pretty much any other one on the market. Ignatius needs to provide something like it, although I don't expect it to match what Crossway can do. But I am going to be seriously disappointed if it either doesn't come out in a single version or if a single version becomes the equivalent, in size, to the Haydock Douay-Rheims Bible.

Timothy said...

And by single I mean single volume edition.

Theophrastus said...

Nice, but isn't the RSV New Oxford Annotated Bible Ecumenical Edition compact enough for you? To my mind, it is almost the perfect form factor for a reader (and the paper is thick enough to be opaque and usable for notes, while still being easy to carry around).

This is the basis of my claim that the the RSV NOAB-EE is a "reader's Bible."

And to digress, do you know about the the 1966 Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha "Imprimatur Printing"? I had not heard of it until recently, but I found a review of it in a December 1966 Journal of Biblical Literature review by Robert A. Kraft:

The new "imprimatur" edition is, for all practical purposes, a reissue of the 1965 OABA adjusted to include a few editorial modifications in the annotations - the pagination, RSV translation and footnotes, entire Apocrypha section (including annotations), and the various supplementary sections remain completely unchanged. An added portion in the Foreword informs the reader that Richard Cardinal Cushing has endorsed the edition and granted it an imprimatur, although there is no separate imprimatur page.[...]

The "Imprimatur" OABA makes only two slight changes in the OT annotations, for the sake of clarity and accuracy (Gen 3:19; introduction to Ecclesiastes). A number of NT annotations have been modified, sometimes requiring the elimination or reduction of nearby notes in order to preserve the original pagination (e.g., the explanation of "manger" in Luke 2:7 has disappeared). In three instances, the added annotations call attention to the traditional status as "inspired Scripture" of text-critically suspect passages (Mark 16:9 ff.; the longer text at Luke 22:19b-20 and 24; John 7:53-8:11). Several changes occur in passages of interest for discussions of the "perpetual virginity" of Mary - at Mark 6:3 the claim that "the language implies that the brothers and sisters were all Mary's children" is dropped, while the Protestant and Catholic positions are explained at Matt 13:55, with appropriate cross-references to that note inserted at the other relevant passages. Similarly, annotations are introduced at Matt 1:25 ("until") and Luke 2:7 ("first-born son") to explain the Catholic interpretation. Otherwise, characteristically Catholic interests seem to appear only in the notes to Matt 5:31 f. (more "neutral" wording concerning the divorce logion), Matt 16:19 ("the keys of the kingdom are a symbol of Peter's power as the leader of the church"), and Jas 5:13-15 (anointing the sick, "formerly called the sacrament of Extreme Unction by the Roman Catholic Church").[...]

Timothy said...


In regards to your first point, I believe the concern is with the ICSB, which I fear will either only be available in two volumes or in a huge on volume edition. I am not confident that Ignatius can do anything remotely similar to the variety we see in Protestant publishers. That is my real concern.

Now onto the edition you mention, that sounds fascinating. I would love to have a look at one.

Theophrastus said...

Tim, Ignatius still needs to publish many volumes in the OT; including volumes that will require significant commentary (examples: just think of the amount of commentary that will be required for Psalms. Or for Isaiah.)

Using Fr. Felix Just's statistics, the Catholic OT (NAB) contains 27570 verses, while the NT contains 7957 verses -- a ration of about 3.5. Think of it this way -- if the editors cut back the introductions, supplementary material, and annotations so they only had 30% of the length-per-verse of the NT material, it would still be the same volume.

So far, Genesis and Exodus have appeared. So again referring to Fr. Just's statistics, that covers 2746 verses out of a total of 27570 -- just under 10% done so far.

I know the editors keep on saying it will be ready in a year or two, but I think they are being wildly optimistic. They also say that much of the work has been done; but as you must know from your own writing projects, finishing the "last 10%" can often take more time than the first 90%.

Of course, one way to speed things up would be to compromise on quality, but we hope nobody wants that.

Add to this the slightly delusional quality some of Ignatius predictions about the RSV-2CE:

* Did Ignatius really think that the RSV-2CE would find wide use as a Lectionary?
* Did Ignatius really continue to think that even after after it decided to remainder its complete supply of Lectionary volumes?
* Why has Ignatius' physical production of RSV-2CE volumes been so uneven in recent years (suggesting some very tenuous relationships with commercial Bible printers)?

Yet another complication: Ignatius seems to have had some uneven performance in recent years -- I can only wonder how Ignatius managed to lose the contract for the third volume of Benedict/Ratzinger's Jesus trilogy.

(You will note that the folks at Logos, who seem to be pretty canny at this sort of thing, decided to publish the ICSB NT + Genesis + Exodus on its own instead of waiting for the complete ICSB. If the complete ICSB were actually likely to appear in a year or so, I doubt Logos would have decided to take this path.)

I'm not a wagering man (and I suppose you are not one either), but just as a mental exercise, it might be interesting to imagine what the "Vegas odds" would be for the complete work appearing in any format in print within two years.

In fact, given all the upheaval in the publishing industry, a skeptic might even wonder which will happen first: Ignatius gets sold to another publisher or the complete ICSB finally appears.

Timothy said...


Their volume on Proverbs, Eccles, and Song of Solomon is due out any day, but even with that, I would certainly, in absolutely no way bet the house that the complete ICSB would be finished by 2015. So I absolutely agree with you.

Anonymous said...

I agree with these suggestions & comments...
AND I still heartily thank Ignatius and crew for providing an INEXPENSIVE and RELIABLE Catholic study Bible!
I appreciate that it's available in multiple formats, including on my phone (via kindle app). I have - and continue to - recommended the ICSB to everyone.

Amfortas said...

Thank you Anonymous. I know the discussion here is about the design and presentation of study bibles. The ESV format is great but in the end we have to recommend the ICSB because, although the ESV study bible contains some very good material, it also misrepresents Catholic and Orthodox doctrine concerning scripture and posits all sorts of nonsense about some texts such as Revelation In the hands of a Catholic who has not experienced good catechesis it has the potential to undermine their faith.

Timothy said...

Yeah, no one doubts the spiritual and theological quality of the notes and commentary, but there is room to be concerned about what the overall package will look like in the end.

Jonny said...

The NOAB RSV I reviewed a while back (October 10, 2011) is the "Imprimatur printing" Theophrastus mentioned above. Apparently that is the only edition that is currently available. That is very cool, because in terms of quality of construction and notations it is probably the best portable single volume edition available. See the above mentioned review. This one is really a sleek, beautiful, Bible in genuine leather!

Biblical Catholic said...

I probably sound like a broken record here but I honestly think that questions like number of volumes and size of the volumes no longer matter now that we are in an economy where e-books outsell the paper kind by a more than 2-1 margin.....I don't intend to buy the paper copy, I'll download the e-book

Theophrastus said...

Jonny -- I think you may be mistaken. I think I own the edition you reviewed, and it is copyright 1977. The "imprimatur edition" I found a review for was from 1966, and was for the Oxford Annotated Bible.

Apparently, when Oxford began to publish the series, they published a separate volume for Catholics (which was separate from their edition "with Apocrypha" that appeared in 1965).

I absolutely agree with you that the RSV NOAB is a wonderful volume. Besides from the content, the book is very well designed, easy-to-read (many bibles use hard-to-read fonts or have pages that bleed-through), and easy to carry. It is not garish in the way that many contemporary study Bibles are, and the annotations and helps do not overwhelm the Biblical text.

Jonny said...


Mine is the 1977 edition as well. Actually it reads "Copyright 1973, 1977 By Oxford University Press, Inc." It is interesting that the OABA was released in two editions, I was unaware of that. It appears that the NOAB expanded edition kept the 1966 "Catholic" edition (at least the recently released ones I have seen) rather than the original release (which was the reason for my happiness in the original post.) Probably a wise move for Oxford, as I bet the majority of interest in this edition is Catholic and Orthodox readers. I was intrigued, however, that the original "Catholic" edition didn't include the imprimatur specifically, but rather just a reference to it in Foreword (as it is mentioned in the Foreword of the current NOAB.)